Country information for France - Financing of inclusive education systems

Pre-primary and primary schools in the public school system do not have ‘public establishment’ status in France. They are not independent legal entities (legal persons) and are not financially autonomous. Funding of public pre-primary and primary schools comes from several sources: the municipality, the state, parents, the local education fund (caisse des écoles) and the school co-operative. (IECE Country Survey Questionnaire, p. 25)

The state covers expenses relating to the schooling of learners with disabilities from pre‑primary level through to secondary school. Related expenditure includes the salaries of specialised teachers, the cost of individual or collective school assistants, and subsidised jobs assigned to support missions and the various expenses connected with receiving learners (travel expenses of school assistants, cost of adapted teaching materials).

From 2005 to 2010, public spending in the area of disabilities was unusually high. The change in public expenditure in this field reflects the effective implementation of the new principles laid down by the Law of 11 February 2005, as well as the commitments made by the President of France at the National Conference on Disability in June 2008.

The expenses linked to supporting children (support assistants, voluntary educational assistants, administrative costs corresponding to adapted teaching materials) increased from EUR 170.3 million in 2006 to EUR 351.8 million in 2010, i.e. +106.5% in five years. (Rapport du Gouvernement au Parlement sur la mise en œuvre de la politique nationale en faveur des personnes handicapées, February 2012, pp. 16–18).

Enrolment and support of learners with disabilities in the school environment

The National Education budget devoted to the schooling of learners with disabilities increased six-fold between 2005 and 2020. It increased to EUR 2.9 billion in 2020, or 4.0% of the overall national education budget (5.5% of the budget excluding public pensions contributions). It includes funds for the remuneration of specialist teachers, the cost of support assistants, including state-subsidised jobs, and miscellaneous expenditure associated with the schooling of learners with disabilities (such as adapted teaching materials and support assistants’ travel expenses).

In 2019–2020 there were approximately 66,000 support assistants (full-time equivalent) helping 186,000 learners with disabilities in inclusion processes (French Ministry of Education, General Directorate for School Education). The number of support assistants increased by 38% from 2015 and 12% compared to 2018.

Since the start of the 2019 school year, Inclusive Localised Support Poles (PIAL) have been developed to better co-ordinate and manage human support means (support assistants as well as educational and health support). Human assistance is mutualised 54% of the time in primary education and 65% in secondary education (Statistical Surveys no. 3 and 12, French Ministry of Education). Efforts are made to increase job security for staff in charge of support for disabled learners. At the start of the 2020 school year, an increase in human resources will lead to the recruitment of 4,000 new support assistants.

In 2019–2020, 23,500 additional learners with disabilities were enrolled. Commitment appropriations for financing the inclusion of learners with disabilities show a EUR 237 million increase (Draft Budget Bill for 2020, French Ministry of Education).

The number of Local Units for Educational Inclusion (ULIS) is increasing, with a priority for secondary education. In the 2019–2020 school year, there were 9,239 ULIS, 5,021 of which are in primary education and 4,218 in secondary education. Compared to 2018–2019, this represents about 100 new facilities for primary education and more than 200 new facilities for secondary education.

In accordance with the National Strategy for Autism within Neurodevelopmental Disorders, new Externalised Autism Teaching Units for pre-primary education (UEMA) and primary education (UEEA) are created each year in nursery schools and primary schools. The target defined in 2018 was to triple their number by 2022.

Funding for childhood disabilities

The education allowance for learners with disabilities (AEEH) is intended to compensate for the education and care expenses of a child with disabilities. The allowance is given to the person responsible for the child. Supplements can also be granted, subject to meeting certain conditions.

In 2020, the AEEH amounted to EUR 132.61 per month. An increase can be granted, depending on the severity of the disability and if a single parent is responsible for the child. The basic AEEH, plus its supplement and increase for a single parent, can reach up to EUR 1,568.70 per month. (See the AEEH website for further information in French).

On 31 December 2018, there were 287,440 AEEH recipients (CNAF Les chiffres de 2019 de l’autonomie).


Last updated 28/04/2020


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